The State Engineer has issued protective orders that restricts groundwater pumping for irrigation in 2016.
“The purpose of these prospective orders is to protect existing water rights and wells, protect the physical integrity of the aquifer and protect the long-term water supply,” the engineer’s office said in a statement.
How much groundwater pumping will be curtailed, if at all, officials said, will depend on predictions for surface water flows on the Walker River.
A spokesman said the orders are necessary now because Nevada is experiencing a fourth year of serious drought conditions in all of its major rivers, including the Walker River.
“This low flow on the Walker River has resulted in unprecedented groundwater pumping, reduced aquifer recharge, water level declines and unsustainable depletion of the groundwater aquifer in the basins,” the office’s statement said. “There have been reports of well failures and there is a likelihood of basin wide well failures of shallow wells if the drought continues and no action is taken.”
Further information is available at water.nv.gov on the General News page under Walker River Curtailment.